How to write a rebrand brief

Lucia McGuinness

You’re ready to rebrand and it’s time to write the killer brief. What are the key elements an agency needs to do their most effective work?

The journey to a rebrand is starting. You’ve identified your organisation needs a refresh and now you’re wondering what the brief should look like.

As an agency strategist, I’ve read literally hundreds of client briefs. The best ones are comprehensive documents that give me a good understanding of your business objectives and your team’s expectations for the project.

A good client brief is essential for setting the foundations of a successful branding project. My wishlist for a brief includes many things, but I don’t expect you to have all the answers. A thorough sharing of information, and identifying where we might work together to fill in the gaps, is a great starting point.

Set clear objectives

The brief should clearly outline your objectives and what you hope to achieve through the branding project, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, launching a new product or repositioning in the market. To get you started you can use SMART as an effective way to develop your objectives, making them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Consider team alignment, too. Are you a small group working closely, with a shared common vision for the project? Or part of a wider organisation with other departments to bring onboard? Will you be ‘reporting up’ and planning when to seek buy-in from the business? Or do you have the final say? This context helps us run the project in the most effective way.

Present audience insights

Understanding your audience is crucial for creating a brand strategy that resonates, and a good brief provides detailed information about them. This could include demographic data, psychographic characteristics, behaviours, preferences and any other relevant insights. From there, we can refine our understanding of the value you bring. What do you enable them to do? What do you provide that they can’t get elsewhere? And, for the most potent brands, what do you set them free to become? Think Nike, LEGO or Apple.

Understanding your existing brand is vital, so share this in the brief. What’s working? What no longer works?”

Share market tensions

A good brief highlights your competitive advantages and unique selling points, while identifying gaps and opportunities in the market. It helps us position you accurately and differentiate you within the sector. If you don’t hold these insights we can help you define the information.

A long list of competitors can be cumbersome. What we prefer is a list of what Simon Sinek calls your worthy rivals, along with thoughts on any other organisation with the capacity to move into your sector based on their expertise, technology or access to your audience.

Brand background and strategy

Understanding your existing brand is vital, so share this in the brief. What’s working? What no longer works? Knowing which part of your organisation’s DNA is driving you forward, and what’s holding you back, can provide learnings that shape the new brand.

Your current business strategy is a useful starting point to validate the success of the rebrand project against. The work we do will also interrogate and build upon your strategy, to see if there are other valuable opportunities to explore.

How you’ll measure success

The brief should outline the key performance indicators (KPIs) or success metrics you’ll use to evaluate the effectiveness of the branding efforts. There are dozens of KPIs that can be used to track the success of a campaign. They’re not necessarily relevant to a rebrand, so choose ones that align with your business strategy. Brand-building is about the long game, so make it clear why these are important and how they’ll help your business in the future.

If you can’t give a fixed figure or delivery date, then a ‘window’ means we can show what can be done in different scenarios. This helps manage expectations and enables us to plan and allocate resources effectively.”

You can track brand attribution, brand awareness and brand value. You might also consider KPIs that show your influence in the market, sales uplift, market share growth, your business valuation or an increase in attracting talent. These all provide a way of measuring the project’s success and will allow for adjustments and optimisations along the way.

Budget and timeline

There are lots of reasons you might be coy about putting a budget in the brief. But one of the biggest frustrations for agencies is only finding out the number once the proposal has been submitted. It wastes time and energy that could be spent planning the work together because, without that information, we don’t fully understand the constraints of the project. In our experience we get to effective, achievable solutions faster if we know upfront.

That’s why a good client brief defines the budget and timeline for the branding project. If you can’t give a fixed figure or delivery date, then a ‘window’ means we can show what can be done in different scenarios. This helps manage expectations and enables us to plan and allocate resources effectively. Most importantly, it means we can work out how and where we can bring the most value to your business.

Collaboration and approval process

Good collaboration propels a project forward, delivers the most effective outcomes and makes it so much more enjoyable for everyone. This starts with the brief, so include an overview of the key people involved in the project, their roles and any notes on how we might best engage them. This preparation ensures a smooth workflow, encourages open communication and keeps the project on track.

Overall, a good client brief should provide a clear understanding of your goals, your audience, the market landscape and your investment of time, people and budget. With this information, we can develop a comprehensive and effective brand strategy that will engage your audience, unlock opportunities and rally people behind your mission.

If you’d like help pulling a brief together, feel free to get in touch.

Lucia McGuinness

In her role as brand and digital Strategy Director, Lucia (she/her) has solved a range of challenges for some of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, providing the clarity and creativity to help them stay ahead. Her main focus is on making sustainability rewarding for business, while keeping it beautiful and playful for audiences.